on having and eating cake…

A very depressing aphorism suggests that one cannot have one’s cake and eat it which seems contradictory to me as the sole chance of eating one’s cake is indeed to have it, if only for that short time until it has been eaten, thoroughly enjoyed and all that remains is a memory: as with life itself. Making cake myself allows me to prolong that enjoyment through the look of and feel of the stuff with which I make it, through the warmth of the oven, the scent of cooking and the anticipation of how good it may be : as with life.  This sunny morning reminded me of yesterday’s cake, the remains of which, both yesterday and the cake, are pictured above whilst at the same time bringing to mind a piece from Henry Thoreau’s “Walden”…..which wonderful book, if you haven’t yet read, please do.

“Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or
flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.”

Raspberry and Amaretti Cake . a BBC Good Food recipe

175g soft butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
140g self raising flour
85g ground almonds
140g amaretti biscuits, roughly broken
250g raspberries

1.Preheat oven to 160C. Butter and line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and ground almonds into a large bowl and beat them with an electric hand whisk until all are well blended.
2.Spread half the cake mix on the base of the cake tin and scatter over half of the amaretti biscuits followed by a third of the raspberries. Very lightly press into the cake mixture.
3.Dollop dessert spoonfuls of the remaining cake mixture over the amaretti biscuits and raspberries and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining biscuits and half the remaining raspberries over the top. Bake for 55-60mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
4.Cool for 15mins in the tin then run a knife around the edge and turn out…..sprinkle with icing sugar and scatter the remaining raspberries over the cake when serving.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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19 Responses to on having and eating cake…

  1. We seem to be feeling a little philosophical today, Roger. 🙂

  2. kstienemeier says:

    A perfect choice of quote Roger that exactly describes living in the moment, not feeling guilty or lazy but purposeful in one’s contemplation. A heavenly skill so many no longer understand or practice.
    Will give the lovely recipe a whirl too.

  3. Eha says:

    Nothing ‘memorable’ was accomplished? The almost empty plate once full does suggest a somewhat different scenario . . .

  4. jmcheney says:

    No one could beat Henry’s sittin’ in the sun contemplatin’ the world at hand, beating the work of the hand, (though he did walk many miles most days, as he was “widely travelled – in Concord”). But the work of your hands, and eyes, beats all, Roger, & is beautiful to contemplate & behold. I wish I were your neighbor; I’d pop over for a slice. Oh, Yum! I guess I could go in off the porch & whip up a cake myself, instead of sittin’ here doin’ nothin’ all the livelong day.

  5. Mad Dog says:

    It looks like you had yours and ate it!
    I’m not a cake fan, but I wouldn’t mind trying that one 🙂

  6. what a luscious cake and image, it’s so very inviting, with a glass of white maybe? Just saying

  7. I really like that quote. And the cake. Pity the recipe is only for one serving…

  8. scarletclark says:

    I’ve also thought that odd saying makes people more determined to have and consume (cake, life, whatever). Perhaps it was originally conjured up to give people a kick up the backside – or just want more cake!

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